It's a rare occasion that someone successfully fulfills an endeavor without exemplars. An exemplar is more than an example, an exemplar is an excellent model.

In life, your every endeavor has both examples and exemplars that speak to either part or all of how you should succeed. The problem that arises is that we follow, or learn from the examples in our life without considering the alternatives (exemplars) we settle for a less superior, and sometimes terrible experience. These examples guide us and teach us and so it is important to consider the quality of the examples you have before deciding which to choose as the one you will engage. 

Successful, joyful, satisfied people often credit their success, joy, and satisfaction the the lessons they learned from examples. We can see that they did not just follow any example they came across, but were selectively using exemplars to guide their way. Whether books, relationships, or failed attempts are the source, successful experiences are engaged from the excellent models we have encountered.   

My advice, then, is simple. Seek, find, and engage the excellent models in your life and use those exemplars, not just examples of insufficient quality, to guide you as you journey through life.